The end of it

by John Boland

That moment when
the rituals of love
turn into chores:

the whispered calls
from work desks,
the secret codes

on home phones,
those stolen afternoons
of dazed delirium

out on that bed,
that long-promised weekend
far away from everyone –

all now seem somehow
more difficult to manage,
and in their place

are tiresome problems
you didn’t have before
(the office workload,

the family holiday
that this time round
you can’t get out of),

and suddenly there you are
in the kitchen
of your empty house,

the half-smoked cigarette
burning itself out,
the milk curdling

in the midday sun,
the phone crying out
for you to call someone.

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